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13th annual Fishing Derby draws crowd

Youngsters cast their nets in Davisburg. Photo by Krysten Cooper (click for larger version)
June 20, 2012 - The hot weather last Saturday wasn't enough to keep youth from competing in the 13th annual Youth Fishing Derby. Ages 16 and under eagerly tried to catch the biggest fish, biggest frog, most fish and the smallest fish.

Registration for the event opened at noon and the first 20 children to check-in were given free T-shirts, courtesy of the Clinton River Watershed. In addition, every child to compete got a free bag filled with tackle and access to free bait.

Just a short walk away from the fishing ponds, the DNR was handing out free samples of the new state park ice cream flavor, Michigan Caramel Apple. The Davisburg Rotary was also there running a small concession stand so fishers didn't lose any time going to get lunch.

At 12:30 p.m., a loud air horn announced the derby had begun and children ran around trying to catch fish and frogs alike. Each time a fish or frog was caught, it could be brought to the check-in tent to be measured. The length of the fish or frog was recorded in the child's log and then the creatures could be released back into the pond.

Bluegill seemed to be the most commonly caught fish, but the ponds also have perch, bass, and trout. Bullfrogs were easy to find scattered throughout and some children even found water snakes.

Springfield Township Parks and Recreation Administrative Assistant Sarah Richmond said that she was happy with the turn out and thought the sunny weather definitely helped. She also said the annual event usually draws a lot of people. Everyone knows where it is and what to expect so it helps the turn out.

At 3 p.m., the air horn sounded once again marking the end of the derby.

Children gathered around the table filled with prizes impatiently awaiting the announcement of the winners. In the end, the largest fish was a bass at 16 1/8 inches, caught by Joe DeLauder. The smallest fish was 3 1/2 inches caught by Katie Buck. Longest frog was 13 1/2 inches caught by Bryan Connolly, and the most fish caught by one person was 31 by Perry Outman.

There were different prizes for each winner. All the winners got a $5 gift card to Dicks Sporting Goods, a fish keychain and bait. Each winner was also given an additional prize – biggest fish, fishing rod with tackle; smallest fish, small tackle box; largest frog, a lawn chair; and most fish, a large tackle box.

Everyone else left with the prize of a fun day spent fishing at a local park.

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